this is bbc news. the headlines at 103m. labour denies having any official links to facebook groups forjeremy corbyn supporters — where anti—semitic comments have been posted.
comedian eddie izzard joins labour's ruling committee — after a senior party official is forced to resign. heavyweight boxer anthonyjoshua beats new zealand's joseph parker with a unanimous win to add the wbo title to all his others. ifi if i was retiring on this high, i would be like, yes, iam if i was retiring on this high, i would be like, yes, i am the man. because i am retiring on a high. but i have got to defend again in a few months, so i am balanced and we are still hustling. pope francis has delivered his easter homily from the balcony of st peter's basilica in rome. speaking without notes he remarked about god's capacity to surprise. this is the scene live at the vatican. the royal air force is 100 years old today.
events are being held across the country to mark the time when the raf became the world's
first independent air force. yes, 100 years to the day, we are turning the clock back on those early days of flying, as you can join us live at stowe marie is, the last intact first world war aerodrome anywhere in europe. and coming up in half an hour on bbc news... it's whether wild, marking 100 years of the raf, and where better than here at its biggest base, raf brize norton? good morning and welcome to bbc news. labour has sought to distance itself from some facebook groups set
up by supporters ofjeremy corbyn, after it emerged members have posted anti—jewish, violent and abusive comments. the sunday times says it's uncovered more than 2,000 offensive messages. labour said it didn't run the groups or have any official connection with them — and it had strict rules prohibiting abuse and discrimination. 0ur political correspondent jonathan blake has been following the story and joins me now. they have investigated what they say are the biggest groups set up to supportjeremy corbyn and his leadership and the investigation has found around 2000 messages with various examples of different forms of abuse, their anti—semitism, other forms of racism, misogynistic abuse against women, threats of violence
and the list goes on. it's really nasty stuff. the labour party, as you say, is distancing itself from these groups. it has made clear in these groups. it has made clear in the statements that these are not official groups, they have no direct link to the labour party in any way, and a statement goes on to say that the labour party is committed to campaigning against anti—semitism in all its forms. this is damaging for labour after a difficult week for the weather has been criticism of jeremy corbyn‘s handling of the issue. there have been a number of public statements from him, haven't there, but will there be pressure for him to do more? jeremy corbyn has their time and time again that he denounces all forms of racism. his denouncement and promises have
not gone far enough for many, as you suggest, and at a meeting on friday he said the party needs to do more in tackling anti—semitism. there are many in the party looking to see what he will do next and we saw that from a group of nearly a0 labour peers and mps who on friday wrote to the leader asking him to suspend christine shawcross, the senior official who has since resigned from the labour pa rty‘s official who has since resigned from the labour party's senior executive committee. berardo is in the party who believe these accusations are being used to —— there are others in the party who believe these accusations are being used to destabilisejeremy accusations are being used to destabilise jeremy corbyn. britain's anthonyjoshua has secured his third major boxing world title with victory over new zealand's joseph parker in cardiff. joshua now needsjust one more belt to be crowned the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world. david 0rnstein reports. he's one of the biggest
stars of british sport, but for that star to continue rising, anthonyjoshua must keep winning, and with each opponent comes danger. go, new zealand! go, joseph parker! never before had reigning heavyweight champions met on these shores but with two unbeaten records on the line, this turned into a cagey contest. thouthoshua was the aggressor, joseph parker stood firm, and the briton would go the distance for the first time in his career. the referee was criticised for how often he stepped in, yet the judges unanimously ruled in joshua's favour. he now has three of the four recognised world championship belts. nobody has held all of them at once. that is the aim. i think 2018 was always a time to capture all the belts. we are one away now, and i think the sky's the limit for what we're trying to achieve.
so a night that didn't quite deliver the drama so many wanted to see was no less significant for anthonyjoshua on his rise towards sporting greatness. a journey that shows no sign of slowing down. joshua's breakthrough came at the london 2012 olympics. he turned professional a year later. he collected his first major title with victory over charles martin. beating wladimir klitschko at wembley added a second crown in spectacular style. now only deontay wilder can prevent joshua from becoming the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world. you see the good, the bad, the ugly. and long may it continue, i think. i'm not done. i think i have a lot of years left in me. if i can keep in control of fights like that, without taking too much punishment, i should be around for a long time. 0minous for his rivals, tantalising for his fans. joshua's star burning brighter than ever. david 0rnstein, bbc news.
pope francis is delivering his traditional easter blessing and message from the balcony of st peter's basilica in rome. those other live shots from there as i speak. yesterday evening, he led an easter vigil attended by 10,000 pilgrims in the basilica during the mass, the pope baptised eight people, including john 0gah, a nigerian migrant, who prevented a robbery last year while he was begging outside an italian supermarket. our correspondent david willey joins us now from rome. we are watching the scenes, david. give us a sense of the last 2a hours there? the easter vigil began with this mass inside the basilica, the church of christendom in the centre of rome, which began in total darkness. it was a very impressive ceremony, as the 10,000 people present one by one let their candles
and flooded the basilica with light, symbolising the resurrection of christ. now, this morning, the pope is officiating at a second mass in saint peter ‘s square in the open airand then in saint peter ‘s square in the open air and then in a few minutes' time he will go up to the balcony on the facade of st peter's to deliver his easter message, urbi et 0rbi, the traditional messages that you give that christmas and easter time of peace, delivering that notjust in rome but to the whole world. peace, delivering that notjust in rome but to the whole worldlj peace, delivering that notjust in rome but to the whole world. i would imagine many thousands have travelled there for this service costa indeed. it looks like this will be a bumper yearfor costa indeed. it looks like this will be a bumper year for tourism. the italian authorities have been worried about an act of terrorism,
as well, which does bring problems, because huge crowds gather at the vatican, but they have stepped up security today and everything seems to be proceeding safely and securely. as far as the message is concerned, the line about god's capacity to surprise has interested people in the last little while, i think. what is the driving out there? pope francis has, as it were, has re—crafted the church's message for modern society. he thinks that in this day and age the church must modernise to appeal to young people. later this year, he has called representatives of the catholic bishops from around this world to rome to a big meeting to discuss how best to pass on the christian message to future generations,
because it is certain that catholicism is on the decline in many parts of the world, particularly in many traditionally catholic countries, in north and south america and in europe. young people are abandoning the church in d roves people are abandoning the church in droves and the church is very keen on trying to retain their loyalty and to persuade them to continue to practice theirfaith, and to persuade them to continue to practice their faith, the faith of their parents. david, many thanks for that. those scenes live from the vatican city. here, theresa may has used her easter message to praise the character of those affected by last year's terror attacks in the uk and the grenfell tower fire. the prime minister said she'd seen for herself how they'd drawn strength from those around them. over the last year, britain has faced some dark moments. from the terrorist attacks at westminster bridge and london bridge. at manchester arena, at finsbury park and parson's green. and the fire at grenfell tower. i
know from speaking to the victims and survivors of these terrible events how vital the love and support they have received from their friends, support they have received from theirfriends, family support they have received from their friends, family and support they have received from theirfriends, family and neighbours has been to them as they begin to rebuild their lives. in the bravery of those facing adversity, the dedication of our emergency services and the generosity of local communities, we see the triumph of the human spirit. the prime minister's easter message. ceremonies will be held today to mark exactly 100 years since the raf became the world's first independent air force. it was formed by the merger of the army's royal flying corps and the royal naval air service. between them, they had fewer than 200 aircraft at the start of the first world war. a number of events are being held across the country. in a moment, will speak to chi chi izundu who's at the wartime airfield of biggin hill. but first, to robert hall at stow maries great war aerodrome in essex.
robert. good morning, julian. where better to be on a day like this, 100 yea rs better to be on a day like this, 100 years to the days since the raf standard was raised. all around me, preparations are being made for a ceremony to take place this afternoon. let's get some context. ian, chief executive of the stow maries trust, give us the background. this is an area which started off as a area of tents in 1916 and by the end of it, it was a thriving airbase at home to the men and women of the raf. creeping behind us, people who are readying themselves to celebrate the anniversary. this is the pilots
ready room? anniversary. this is the pilots ready room ? you anniversary. this is the pilots ready room? you have spent a lot of money here. we have basically spent around 18 months completely rebuilding, brick by brick, a number of the buildings. it has cost about £24 million and it takes a lot of money and energy to do that. this one is off the at risk register now and it shows what it was like on the days that fighters went out from stow maries. we have got aircraft here, all the aircraft that eventually flew from stow maries will be represented as time goes on. it is not a shortjob. let's talk about the ceremony now, because you have a symbolic moment. absolutely. when this place was handed over from the royal flying corps to the raf, it was a significant moment and we wa nt it was a significant moment and we want to mark that. we had royal mail. here and the royal air force,
so we are a mail. here and the royal air force, so we are a truly mixed site. there will be the raising of the raf ensign this afternoon to show that we have officially handed it over and if we are very lucky, there will even be an appropriate plane flying overhead as we do it. going back to the reconstruction of the airfield, how big a task lies ahead for you? the project itself is a £24 million project and we are very lucky to have great support from historic england and organisations like that but obviously funding is vital for us. but obviously funding is vital for us. it will take around ten to 15 years but once we are finished, this will be one of the centres of aviation history for europe. from your point of view, i know you are knowledgeable about this, what is your assessment of those men and those machines all those years ago? just incredible. you cannot buy that sort of courage. there is a special sort of courage. there is a special sort of courage. there is a special sort of person he gets in a wooden
and lynn in engine frame and flies off to engage. it is incredible. they are the bravest men. and i have to say, having met a number of pilots, the cavalier does not change. they are a fantastic group of men. it does not matter which time you talk about, the pilot to go up time you talk about, the pilot to go up in defence of this country are incredible. and can the air cadets feel that link? we use the incredible. and can the air cadets feelthat link? we use the phrase spirit of place in the heritage community. and if you are here on a summer community. and if you are here on a summer morning community. and if you are here on a summer morning or summer is afternoon and you hear the rate is the first world war aircraft coming m, the first world war aircraft coming in, there is not a dry eye in the house. thank you so much. that is just about it for now. now to another era, a little after the first world war. chi chi izundu is at the wartime airfield of biggin hill.
iamjoined by i am joined by an aviation expert here that begin hill and we have got arguably the most iconic plane behind us? the most iconic, the spitfire, one of the saviours of the battle of britain. 0f spitfire, one of the saviours of the battle of britain. of course the hurricane as well, which we will see later on. the spitfire caught everyone's imagination, the sound, the shape of it. the rolls—royce engine, the sound of it.|j understand that even when german fighters were shot down by a hurricane, they lied and said they we re hurricane, they lied and said they were shot down by a spitfire because they were slow iconic? that's absolutely right. the hurricane really bore the brunt of the action, but it was the spitfire that the
germans were afraid of. we can walk over to a hurricane now and it is made up of wood and learning. there we re made up of wood and learning. there were more hurricane italians during the battle of britain? yes, it was made of learning so if it was damaged, it could land, slap a patch on it, and up it went again? you mean literally so a patch on and off it goes again? literally so on a patch and it carries on its wall. the final plane we have here is another spitfire. why is this important? this is a two seat spitfire. we are now offering people flights in two seat spitfire ‘s and we have got a flight squadron leader here who is going to fly in this particular aircraft. it shot down one measure smit 109 particular aircraft. it shot down one measure smit109 over are known, so you are flying with history when you sit in that aircraft. how
pleasurable is it to have alan scott as part of this celebration? pleasurable is it to have alan scott as part of this celebration7m pleasurable is it to have alan scott as part of this celebration? it is absolutely great because he epitomises the aircrew and the ground crew that saved this country during the war, so we are really proud and privileged to have him and mary ellis from the ata here. let's talk about mary. 100 years —— 100 money is old. what's one of the few women who got to fly the plane as well? absolutely. she is the last remaining 88 —— a t a representative. i must greet her. a wonderful lady. mary, you are live on the bbc. congratulations. how do you feel to be here as part of the day's celebrations? i think it is absolutely marvellous. absolutely brilliant. here is my dear friend. it is so good to welcome you back to
begin hill. you are looking marvellous. it's a privilege to have you here again. it really, really is. hopefully we will get to chat to mary properly later on as part of the aerial display that is going to happen butjust the aerial display that is going to happen but just a the aerial display that is going to happen butjust a quick word on how it feels to be here today? it's absolutely wonderful. i meet all my old friends here. it's tremendous. and you've flew more than a00 spitfires during your time. yes, i did. and it was your favourite plane to fly, i understand? it's everybody's favourite. it was such a delightful aeroplane and so easy to fly. fantastic, mary. we will let you get in the war because it is cold right now. so, shortly, in a few hours, we should see these planes take off and be part of an aerial display which will have alan
scott, who is also a veteran, in this spitfire later on this afternoon. great stuff. thank you so much. a lovely spontaneous arrival back at begin hill. you saw robert early run out stow maries. we will be back with those events later on. time for the headlines now on bbc news. labour denies having any official links to facebook groups forjeremy corbyn supporters — where anti—semitic comments have been posted. comedian eddie izzard joins labour's ruling committee — after a senior party official is forced to resign. pope francis delivers his traditional easter blessing. 0vernight, he urged believers to break out of their routines and renew their lives. sport now, and we have a full round up, from the bbc sport centre. good morning to you. britain's world
heavyweight champion anthonyjoshua is already looking to his next challenge after unifying three titles after beating desert park in cardiff. never before have two heavyweight champions met to unify heavyweight champions met to unify heavyweight belts in the kind —— in the uk. in the ring, joshua dominated throughout, earning a unanimous points decision. there is likely to be clamouring for him to face deontay wilder next. he is ready focusing on the future. face deontay wilder next. he is ready focusing on the futurelj face deontay wilder next. he is ready focusing on the future. i am not elated because i don't let the highs get to my head. i always been, we have got the go again soon. if i was retiring on this high i would think i may guess, you are a man, because you have two retire on a high. but i would offend again in a
few months and we are still hustling, we are still has link. we are onto the next one in my eyes. it's not time to sit back and enjoy the ride, it's time to look at the next one. there has been widespread criticism of the italian referee who many claims stepped into often to separate the boxes and didn't allow the fight to flow. i thought it was appalling officiating and in many ways he didn't let a proper break—out. joshua had said going into this that he wanted a more cultured performance. he did control the fight with hisjab, he was badly damaged in the fight and because of parker's decision to try to take him into the later rounds, it was a turgid affair, in some ways, if you can say that about 2/18 day men hitting each other. manchester city are one win away from winning the premier league after beating everton. they face manchester united next with the chance to be crowned champions but their manager, pep guardiola, is not
getting too excited about that, with the small matter of the champions league quarterfinal to come on wednesday. we spoke for the last period for the players, no matter the circumstances, it is not important. important is to be champion and of course now our focus is the champions league, so we will adapt the game against united for the liverpool game before and after. now, with the distance we have, we must focus on the champions league and in the middle, we have united, of course, he will try to win and play but the line—up will be thinking about liverpool. at the bottom of the table, there was a much—needed win for david moyes's west ham united against fellow strugglers southampton. marco and out of it's got the better of his old boss, marquees. england's cricketers are in charge at the end of day three of the second test in christchurch. james anderson and stuart broad got all of
new zealand's ten wickets between them as they removed the remaining batsmen at the start of the day to give the visitors a 29 run first—innings lead. 0pening batsmen alastair cook fell cheaply again but james vince and mark stoneman steadied the ship, both reaching half centuries before being dismissed. england ended the day with a lift —— eight lead of 231 runs. the masters is less than a week away now and ian poulter knows he must win this weekend to qualify for that first major of the year. poulter is rising to the challenge, going in with —— going into the day's round with —— going into the day's round with a lead. he is 1a under par, tied with the american beau hosler, two shots clear of the field. there are also british women in contention in the first women's big challenge of the year. charley hull
was runner—up in this event two yea rs was runner—up in this event two years ago. munster twice came from behind to beat toulon to reach the semifinals of the european champions cup. the irish side left their best to last with a magnificent try from the winger, this magnificent effort setting up a conversion to give them victory by just setting up a conversion to give them victory byjust one point. now, before you go, if you expected zlata n now, before you go, if you expected zlatan ibrahimovic to bejet—lagged on his debut for la galaxy, think again. he came onjust a week on his debut for la galaxy, think again. he came on just a week after he arrived at their best. not only was it a brilliant goal, it brought his galaxy side level at 3—3. of course, he was a dunn, scoring again in stoppage time to seal a a—3 win over their city rivals, l afc. he has still got it. that is all this board for now. the first of two aircraft
carrying expelled russian diplomats home from the united states has arrived in moscow. a second aircraft is expected later today. in all, 60 russians were sent home by washington in response to the poisoning of a former russian spy in britain almost a month ago. earlier, a spokeswoman for the russian foreign ministry blamed the uk and the us of trying to sabotage the upcoming football world cup by implicating moscow in the incident. tougher penalties for littering come into force in england today. 0n—the—spot fines will increase from £80 to £150. authorities can also use the penalties to target vehicles owners if it is possible to prove rubbish has been thrown from their car. jessica parker reports. hitting litter louts where it hurts — their pockets. 0n—the—spot fines are nearly doubling, with the maximum penalty now set at £150. littering is of course bad for the environment. it's not good for the taxpayer either. the government says keeping the country's streets clean cost
local councils nearly £700 million last year. that is money which could be much better spent on other services. we want to encourage people to litter less, but also to recycle more and make sure that they work with their communities so that councils can invest their council tax in services that truly matter. it is also going to be easier to tackle littering from vehicles. previously officers had to identify exactly who threw litter from a car. now councils across england will only need to prove that rubbish has been dropped from a vehicle in order to fine the owner, even if it was discarded by somebody else. cracking down on culprits is, it seems, a popular idea. well, there's too much litter around. it's a mess. i think it's dangerous, throwing it out of a car anyway, because of the cars behind you. and just in general, walking around, it's awful sometimes. fines and punishments drive behaviour, so yeah, ultimately i think it is a good thing if we want cleaner streets. shopping find is one thing, but what
about enforcement? —— uppingham finds is one thing, but what about important? currently, enforcement is very low. if we are going to take advantage of the new legislation and the revenue it could bring, this needs to increase. but ministers are warning authorities not to abuse the new powers, saying they should be used in a proportionate way. jessica parker, bbc news. now for the weather with helen willetts. hello there, this is a lovely shot of the weather in guernsey first thing this easter sunday. we have more rain to come later and we have showers in the east and the north. feeling a little less cold because
we have got lighter winds and some april sunshine. this as it makes its way north with overnight could bring some snow. they could be disruptive snow around in northern england and parts of scotland. it will fill colder, obviously, where there is no. there is potential as it becomes slow moving across the hills of the north, we could see up to ten centimetres of snow. even snow in lower areas is possible. that will give disruption, particularly on a day where there is lots of travel as many return easter break. are " f this is bbc news — our latest headlines.